Soon: Chapter 15: Miracles and Changes
Ah, miracles. We’ve had so many of them so far in Soon.
The Reflecting Pool in Washington turned to blood.
An earthquake happened in California.
An oil well caught fire in TEXAS.
Trees died in Washington.
I mean, sure, these could all be explained by natural events or by human terrorism, but hey, they’re miracles, right?
God sure is all America First, isn’t he? Guess those poor, confused atheists in Canada and Spain and Egypt and China and Brazil just don’t deserve any easily-explained-by-real-things miracles.
Honestly, why doesn’t God do something really cool and unmistakably from him, since the world is populated largely by atheists, many of whom have had no exposure to any religion in their entire lives?
Why doesn’t he rearrange the stars to spell out (in every language spoken on Earth):
THIS IS THE GOD OF THE RELIGION FORMERLY KNOWN AS CHRISTIANITY. I AM DAD OF JESUS. ALL YOU ATHEISTS DOWN THERE? HI. QUIT WITH THOSE LAWS OUTLAWING RELIGION. OR AT LEAST THE LAWS OUTLAWING REAL, TRUE CHRISTIANITY.
THANKS IN ADVANCE!
But oh, no, it makes a bunch more sense to make already-genetically-engineered trees wither and die. Real clear of you, God. Thanks for that.
But forget all that! Because now, we have a totally genuine and indisputable miracle on our hands!
Or at least, in Paul’s eyes.
Having once again shot down his wife’s every idea, Paul plays it his own way and waits for the next day to see his doctor.
I am no opthalmologist, so I want to be as clear here as possible and try to figure out what’s going on. As a reminder, Dr. Bihari said from the beginning that there was a chance, albeit a very small one, that Paul could regain his sight. From Chapter 10–
“There is considerable damage that may only be able to be rectified through transplant surgery. But the body is an amazing self-healing machine.
My guess is that there is a better than 90 percent chance that you will require transplant surgery in order to have any return of vision.”
Now that he finds out what Paul can see (which is not all that much yet; just the first two lines of an eye chart), Bihari is “astounded“:
“I don’t understand it, but I wouldn’t want to mess with nature yet. Let’s see how much better this gets [before we consider eye transplants].”
So, he’s surprised, as one would be when someone beats long odds, but I don’t see Bihari calling a press conference or even getting another expert in to see if s/he has ever seen anything like this. Probably because Bihari was always of the opinion that Paul might actually regain his sight.
What is it with these non-miracle miracles???
Change of subject: I am giving this chapter an Actually Not That Bad designation. It’s the first one for this book (where are you when we need you, Dr. Isis Proserpina McDonald?), and it’s a bit of a pity-ANTB, but I do like that Jenkins actually acknowledges Jae’s conflicted feelings about Paul’s recovery:
Jae was confused. She didn’t know how to feel. She ought to be overjoyed, but she was furious with Paul about the letter. Now she didn’t know how to confront him. He’d be angry and claim the correspondence was innocent…How could Jae believe in him again? She was sick of his deception…Forcing him out now would be unforgivable, the final blow in their marriage. Jae wasn’t ready to take that step. She needed time and space to think things over and–if nothing else–to prove to Paul she meant business.
Now there’s an obvious problem here: Paul has been serially cheating, lying, and emotionally abusive for years, but it’s Jae that will be striking the “final blow” be responding?
You know, if I were Jae (*shudders*), I would also be royally pissed that this is approximately the 4,732nd time Paul has jumped into a pile of shit and come out smelling like a rose. A particularly egregious instance of this, too, as Paul compounded cruelty and stupidity: he was just about to shoot a guy, then followed Donny into territory Donny knew well, in order to “rescue” him, then took off his glasses when he had every reason to suspect a dangerous environment. But trust Paul to get everything he wants, even when he’s caused every bit of his own misery. Tool.
But it’s okay, because Jae is going to wait until the kids finish school (it’s now May), and pack them up and go to her parents! All I can say, Jae, is ABOUT DAMN TIME!!!
But wait! Surely now that Paul is a Real True Christian, Jae will see the remarkable changes in his heart! He has faith in the one true God now, he’s following the teachings of Jesus! Aren’t we always told that this makes people better than they were? Naturally Paul will become a more attentive and less abusive husband and father!
His routine stayed the same: listening to discs in the den all morning with the door closed, waiting for Straight; holing up with him all afternoon; and then going out to chess clubs several evenings a week.